After the Square
I've covered a lot of ground since I began learning about the world of granny squares. I started with the history of crochet and granny in Part I, then experimented with variations of the "classic" pattern in Part II. I played with color and learned some basic theory in Part III. Things really blossomed when I 'grew' a garden of flowers in Part IV. I tried my hand at designing squares by creating two patterns - The Pinwheel & Pop-Corn Flower and Clusters to Classic. The flowers and squares inspired me to go even further with a secret project that is nearly ready for it's big reveal. So what's next? That's easy. It's time to meet the Motifs!
When I was making flowers for Part IV, I came to the realization that all granny squares are motifs, but not all motifs are granny squares. In my mind that makes them all part of the same family. I imagine that the square, circle, hexagon, triangle, heart, flower, leaf etc. are all cousins. They share the family characteristic of being a distinctive and recurring form, shape, figure, etc., in a design, as in a painting or on wallpaper (my dictionary definition of motif).
In the crochet world motifs are worked individually. They can be used as embellishments or appliques to add flair to anything from lampshades to flip-flops. They can be connected to each other with the 'join-as-you-go' technique that's often used in scarves, blankets and afghans. Or a batch of motifs can be sewn together to form anything from sweaters and ponchos to wrist warmers, cowls, accessories for the home or even as part of a yarn bombing attack! With a bit of ingenuity anything can be fashioned from motifs.
Exploring the Many Varieties of Motifs
To guide me in my shapely quest I turned to an outstanding book called Beyond the Square - Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman. In this inspiring publication there are 144 patterns in five categories - Circles, Hexagons, Triangles, Squares and Other Unexpected Shapes. This spiral bound book (yeah!) has excellent pictures, clearly written patterns and diagrams for each unique design. I decided to choose two from each category (except squares!). It was a tough decision because there are so many cool motifs. I looked for examples that showed open work and lots of close tight stitching in each shape. I changed my mind multiple times throughout the process and of course ended up making more than I set out too! There is so much variety here that I understand why so many people have challenged themselves to make all of them!
The only thing that is missing from this book is how to connect the shapes. Initially I wasn't looking for that kind of information. But, as my pile of motifs grew I began to wonder what I was going to do with them. I must not be the only person to ask this question because while I was looking for another book to help me I found that Edie has a new book coming out called Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs: Creative Techniques for Joining Motifs of All Shapes; Includes 101 New Motif Designs! It's set to be released on October 23rd and I know it's on my Christmas wish list!! Now here's a look at motifs I made.
My husband picked #10 because he thought it looked like a sea anemone! It was interesting to make. Not hard, just lots of chain stitches and working in back loops. I included the shot of the backside to show how much of the Carrot yarn I really used. It's a puffy motif rising about 3/4 of an inch into the air! We like it so much that it's hanging out on the coffee table!
Motifs #8 and #4 are my open or lacy choices. Motif #8 looks more like a star than a circle to me. The stitches around the center that look like picots are really chain 3's worked over a skipped stitch. This was a very quick motif and I can imagine a group of them connected at the points to make a scarf or wrap. Motif #4 is a circle of cluster stitches. I'm not crazy about the colors (that's why I switched for the others!) but I do like it's overall look and I like making the clusters!
Motif #60 was a blast to make! It's simple stitches (sc, dc and ch), but you make the corner chain loops as you go and on the final round you weave them together to get that great raised interlocking loop effect. Not hard, but a really interesting technique! Motif #62 was one of the trickier ones in the group. I think because you did something completely different in each round, and that means paying close attention to your work! Overall I find it pleasing to the eye.
The hexagons feel closest to the square to me. I think that might be because they seem easier to connect to make a large piece like an afghan. Both of these were simple to make and I understand why so many people are drawn to them. Looking at #37 I just noticed a daisy in the light blue!
Unexpected Shapes - Hearts
I enjoyed the challenge of making these unique shapes. Because they are not symmetrical in the way that I am used to it was fascinating to watch the shapes develop. Motif #143 at the top of the page was also fun and challenging. I can envision a scarf made from a row of interlocking rings in a rainbow mix of colors with the border done in either black or white!
I have to say that I love making motifs. Much more so today than when I started this grand adventure! Making each of these individual works of art has increased my repertoire of stitches, strengthened my ability to decode and decipher patterns and improved my overall crochet technique. While weaving in ends is still not my favorite thing I no longer dread the task and actually have become quite deft at securing those little devils! Each round presents a new set of instructions and I am intrigued with the way stitches work together to create different effects. Ruffly, woven, traditional, open, lacy, bumpy, smooth anything is possible! I still have no idea what I am going to do with ever expanding collection of motifs. For the time being I am content to collect them in a basket in the living room where I can admire them anytime I want!!
Thanks so much for coming by and spending part of your day with me!
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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